Tokyo flight cap to be taken off March 31


TAIPEI–Taiwanese airlines will be allowed to operate an unrestricted number of flights to Tokyo from March 31, the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) said yesterday.

The CAA made the announcement after being informed by Japanese authorities that the cap on the number of flights between Taiwan and Tokyo will be lifted at the end of this month.

The open skies policy, however, will not include the Fifth Freedom Right, the CAA said, explaining that local carriers will still be barred from extending their Taiwan-Tokyo flights to a third destination under the new liberalization measure.

Taiwan and Japan amended their aviation agreement in November 2011 to allow unrestricted flights between Taiwan and various Japanese destinations except Tokyo.

At the time, Japan said it would allow unrestricted flights between Taiwan and Tokyo when the annual number of flights at the city’s Narita International Airport reached 270,000.

Taiwan’s TransAsia Airways said it plans to begin Tokyo-bound services when the new open skies policy takes effect later this month.

The inaugural date and the exact number of flights to be offered will be announced later, TransAsia Airways said.

The country’s top two carriers — China Airlines and EVA Airways — said they do not plan to offer any new flights to Tokyo for the time being.

According to CAA statistics, Taiwanese, Japanese and other foreign carriers now offer a total of 130 flights per week between Tokyo and various Taiwanese destinations.

Among them, 56 are between Taipei’s Songshan Airport and Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. Most of the other flights are between Taoyuan International Airport and Narita International airport and a few are via Kaohsiung International Airport in southern Taiwan.

Some foreign budget airlines, such as Air Asia of Malaysia and Airasia Japan, are reportedly interested in launching Taipei Tokyo flights in the second half of the year.